“I think we should turn around.”
My boyfriend, Chase, and I are on our way to a romantic weekend in a cabin in Vermont. It sounded so wonderful when he told me about it. A nice warm cabin surrounded by snow. Just the two of us. No interruptions from the outside world.
But right around the time when I lost reception on my phone, it stopped seeming like a great idea. And now that the snow is coming down fast and hard, and the tires of Chase’s Ferrari are slipping on the tiny road we’ve turned down, it doesn’t feel like a great idea anymore.
“I told you,” Chase says irritably. “We’re almost there.”
Except we’re not almost there. We don’t know where we are. I can’t see a damn thing with all this snow.
“I think it’s safer to turn around,” I say.
Usually, Chase maintains a speed of somewhere around ninety, but now the speedometer is hovering at five miles per hour. We are crawling along. I feel the car struggling with each foot we travel. And then…
“Shit,” Chase says.
I can hear the wheels of the Ferrari turning, even over the wind roaring outside the car, but nothing is happening. We are not moving. We are officially stuck.
“We may be stuck on something,” he says.
“I think we’re stuck in a foot of snow.”
He shakes his head. “This car can handle snow.”
He gets this wounded look like he always does when someone insults his car. He would defend this car’s honor before he’d defend mine. Nobody but nobody talks smack about his Ferrari.
“I’m sure there’s something blocking one of the wheels,” he says. “Could you get out and check?”
I stare at him. “Why don’t you get out and check?”
“Your coat is warmer than mine,” he points out.
He isn’t wrong. Chase brought along a leather jacket he had imported from London from some swanky store called Belstaff because he saw a photo of David Beckham wearing it. It’s completely impractical for any trip involving the snow, but God forbid I should tell him that. I also assume the leather boots he’s wearing are equally impractical.
It’s not like my apparel is a whole lot better. But at least my Thinsulate coat provides some degree of protection. And the salesgirl at Manolo Blahnik Boston promised these black boots were not only fashionable but waterproof. I’ve verified the fashionable part, but not the waterproof part. It looks like these boots are about to get their first road test.
“Fine,” I grumble.
It’s a struggle to even open the door to the Ferrari because of how much snow has accumulated on the ground, and also because of the wind. The wind is really bad. The second I get the door open, the wind slaps me in the face, and the flakes of snow rush at me all at once. Wow, it’s cold out—much colder than earlier, when the sun was up. My phone can’t tell me the temperature like it usually does, but it’s well below freezing. I mean, it has to be if it’s snowing, right? I don’t know much about weather, but I know if it’s snowing, it must be cold.
I step into the fresh white powder and my right boot immediately sinks down. And oh my God, these boots are not waterproof. That salesgirl at Manolo Blahnik was a lying bitch.
“Do you see anything?” Chase asks me, despite the fact that I haven’t even lifted my butt out of the car yet.
“No,” I hiss at him.
Goddamn Chase. I hate him and his non-soaking-wet feet. I didn’t want to go to this cabin in the first place—why did he have to bulldoze me into this stupid trip? I could have been happy and warm on my sofa right now at home, watching the snowflakes falling outside my window instead of flooding my socks. I should never have agreed to come.
I finally manage to get out of the car and make my way to the hood. There’s a scratch on the right hood of the car that definitely wasn’t there before—it must be from a branch. Chase is going to lose his shit when he sees that scratch. And I’m sorry to say the idea of it makes me happy. He didn’t even pay for this car—his parents got it for him. If I get sick from being out in the frigid cold, I’m still going to have to struggle through catering Mandy Duvall’s baby shower on Monday, while Chase comes and goes from the office whenever he pleases, because his job is to sit in a corner office and look pretty. He could not show up for a week and nobody would notice or care.
Okay, that’s mean. Yes, it’s true. But it’s also mean.
The cold is making me cranky. And hungry too—why didn’t he let me eat at KFC like I wanted?
I brush snow from the hood of the car with my bare hands because, naturally, I failed to bring gloves. What is wrong with me—who forgets to bring gloves on a trip to Vermont in February? But there isn’t much I can do about it now.
I squint at the front of the car best I can. The visibility is terrible because of the snow and the darkness, but I don’t see anything blocking the car from moving forward. There are no barriers. Only snow. Lots and lots and lots of snow.
A gust of wind comes at me and nearly knocks me down. Wow, it’s really bad out here. I slowly make my way back to the door, struggling not to fall. I have to hold onto the car the whole way. When I fall back into my seat and slam the door behind me, it’s a huge relief.
“There’s nothing there,” I say breathlessly. “Only snow.”
“Well, did you clear the snow away?” he asks impatiently.
I look at him in disbelief. “No.”
“Because I don’t have a shovel.” I rub my hands together, trying to get them warm. I hold my pink fingers in front of the heat blasting out of the vents. My toes are numb. “That’s the only way I could possibly clear it.”
“Shit,” Chase says again.
I look out of the windshield, a sinking feeling in my chest. The car is stuck. We are not going anywhere—even when the snow stops, it won’t instantly vanish. The path we came here on is now buried.
And then I look at the gas tank gauge. It’s less than a quarter full.
That means in a few hours, we will be out of gas. Which means no heat.
“What are we going to do?” I whisper, realizing for the first time how truly horrible our situation is.
Chase’s hands tighten on the steering wheel. His knuckles are white. “I don’t know. Maybe someone will come along.”
“Someone will come along? Who else would be dumb enough to be driving around here in a blizzard?”
A few days ago, I probably would have just thought those words and not said them. But to hell with that. Chase got me stuck out in a car with hardly any gas in the middle of nowhere. I’m going to say what I’m thinking.
“Someone will come along,” he says. Ah, there’s Confident Chase again—reassuring but ultimately useless. “There are cabins out here. It’s not deserted.”
“Cabins? I don’t see any cabins.”
“Just relax, Natalie,” he says.
“Relax!” I want to shake him. “You realize we’re almost out of gas, right? We’re probably going to freeze to death before someone finds us out here.”
“We’re not going to freeze to death.”
“Not to mention we have no food.”
There’s nothing he can say to that. If he’s feeling anything like me, he’s probably starving.
“Look,” Chase says, “I’m sure someone will come by eventually. Let’s just sit tight.”
I have a horrible feeling about this, but what can I do? There are no alternatives other than to pray he’s right.
We spend the next hour in silence.
Well, relative silence. Billy Joel is still blasting from the speakers, except instead of entertaining us, it feels sort of like he’s mocking us when he sings about only the good dying young. Silence would be preferable, but Chase won’t let me shut it off.
I keep my eyes pinned on the gas tank gauge, which is dropping steadily. Soon the tank will be empty, and then we’ll be in big trouble. We don’t even have enough gas to get through the night.
If only Chase had listened to me when I told him to fill up the goddamn tank.
“I think we should turn off the engine,” he says suddenly.
My heart thuds in my chest. “What? Why?”
“I just…” He chews on his lip. For the first time in our relationship, I’m seeing what he looks like when he’s scared. Confident Chase is gone, and that is the scariest thing of all. “I’d like to know how cold it will get without the heat.”
“I’m guessing pretty cold.”
“Right, but the car insulates us. It might not be so bad.”
Chase always parks his car in garages where it’s protected from the elements, so he has no idea how cold a car can be when it’s parked outside for a long stretch of time. This car is about to get very, very cold.
He turns the key and the car goes silent as the engine shuts down.
At first, it’s not so bad because there’s still heat trapped in the car. I stupidly feel a spark of hope that maybe we can make it through the night and longer—until someone finds us here. But in about twenty minutes, it becomes clear that’s not the case. The car is quickly becoming extremely cold. I alternate burying my hands under my armpits and blowing warm air on them. I put on my hat, cursing the fact that it’s more fashionable than warm.
I packed really poorly for this trip. But to be fair, I did think I was going to be in a heated cabin.
“It’s pretty c-cold,” Chase comments. His teeth are chattering—actually chattering. And his lips are turning a bit blue.
“Yeah,” I mumble.
I look down at the gas tank gauge. Oh God, we are almost out of gas. We are really and truly screwed. What are we going to do?
I hug my arms to my chest, although it does little to make me feel warmer. The car protects us from wind, but otherwise it’s little insulation from the freezing cold outside. Worse, the snow is continuing to pile up to the point where I’m scared we might not be able to open the doors soon. By morning, the Ferrari could be completely buried.
There is a real chance we could die here. No, not just a chance. A very good chance. After all, there’s nobody looking for us. We won’t be missed until Monday, since our friends and family expect us to be “off the grid” for the weekend. We could easily freeze to death by Monday.
I don’t want to die here. There’s so much more in my life I want to do. Yes, I had trouble coming up with one new thing to do before age thirty, but I love my life. I love my catering business. I love my friends and family. I want to get married someday and start a family of my own. I can’t believe it could end right here in this Ferrari on a dirt road in Vermont.
I look at Chase, who seems to be experiencing a similar revelation from the look in his eyes. All that confidence has vanished.
“What are we going to do?” I whisper.
“We have to try to get help,” he says.
“How?” My phone is useless. We have no other means to communicate with the outside world.
“Maybe…” Chase looks through the windshield at the falling flakes of snow, just barely visible in the blackness, and the growing film of snow on the windshield. Unlike in Boston, there are no streetlights or headlights illuminating the night. The only possible light comes from the stars and the moon, which means there’s no light at all. “We could try to look for help?”
I shake my head. “How? The car won’t budge.”
He chews on his lip. “By foot.”
I look doubtfully out the window. “Are you serious? We’ve got to be miles from the main road.”
“I don’t think it’s that far.” He shivers, which I assume is from the cold. “And you don’t actually need to find anyone. You just need to make it to a place where we could get a phone signal.”
I narrow my eyes at him. “Why do you keep saying ‘you’?”
“Well…” Chase shifts in his leather seat. “Like I said before, you’ve got the warmer clothes.”
He has got to be kidding me. Whoever said chivalry was dead clearly had dated Chase Hollister.
“It’s probably not even that much colder outside than inside,” he adds.
“I’m not leaving this car, Chase,” I say firmly.
“Don’t be selfish, Natalie.”
My mouth falls open. I had been thinking more and more that after we got back, I was going to end this relationship. But considering I’m not sure I’ll make it out of this alive, I don’t want to spend one more second living a lie.
“You know what, Chase?” I say. “We’re done.”
Now it’s turn to look shocked. The color drains out of his tanned face. “You’re breaking up with me?”
“You got that right.”
I give him a hard look. “No time like the present.”
A look of sheer fury passes over his face, and for a moment, I seriously regret my decision to do this right now. If Chase attacked me in this car, what would I do? I couldn’t make a run for it. I quickly review what I learned in my self-defense course from college, but none of it applied to being in a car.
Just when my heart is thudding nearly out of my chest, Chase’s shoulders drop. He looks out the window at the falling snow, then back at me. “Fine.” He shakes his head. “Maybe I’ll go out and look for help myself then.”
Now that the fear of Chase attacking me has passed, the gravity of what he’s saying hits me. There’s a blizzard outside. How far could this rich kid possibly make it in a blizzard?
“I don’t think you should go,” I say. “I think we should stay put. It’s our best chance.”
“You mean stay in the car and do nothing?” He snorts. “Hollisters are doers. I’m not just going to sit here to die, Natalie.”
I peer out the window again. The outdoors looks like a deathtrap right now. “At least wait until morning, when the blizzard has stopped.”
“We could have frostbite by morning.”
His statement reminds me of my frozen feet, which got drenched when I left the car. I hadn’t even been thinking about them, but now I realize I can’t feel my toes. How did I not notice that? I try to wiggle them and… well, I think they move. But I’m not entirely sure.
Oh my God, what if I’m getting frostbite? What if they have to amputate my toes? This is a nightmare.
“This is our only chance, Natalie.”
That confident look is back on Chase’s face. Confident Chase really thinks he can save us. And maybe he can. Anything is possible, right?
“Besides,” he adds, “it’s better than being stuck here with you.”
If I ever had any doubts about my decision to end this relationship, they have vanished.
In spite of everything, I don’t want Chase to die out there, so I give him the scarf I brought, which he briefly balks at, considering the scarf is red and very feminine. But I guess he’s more worried about freezing to death than he is about being a fashion disaster, because he eventually wraps the scarf around his neck. I also give him my hat, which I’m very reluctant to part with, but I know he needs it more.
I can barely make out the whites of Chase’s eyes as he stares at me from the driver’s seat. He’s bundled up in my hat and scarf, paired with his impractical coat and boots. This could be the last time I ever see him. My anger from earlier dissipates. Chase is not a terrible guy—just a little spoiled. He’s not the right guy for me, but I’m sure there’s another woman out there for him. He’s going out in the snow to save us—he’s almost a hero. I hope he’s okay.
“So I’m going,” he says.
I nod. I want to beg him to stay in the car where it’s safe, but he’s right—this is our only hope.
“Are you sure you can’t go?” Chase says. “Your coat is a lot warmer than mine.”
Okay, maybe he’s not such a hero.
“Chase,” I growl.
“Okay, okay.” He looks doubtfully at the blizzard raging outside the window. He lets out a sigh, then struggles to get the car door open. As he steps out into the night, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. There’s no way this man, who has never worked a day in his life, is going to make it to civilization… or even to a place where there’s phone reception. He is going to his death. I know it with absolute certainty in this moment.
“Chase,” I say in a hoarse voice. “Don’t do this. It’s not safe. Stay, okay? Please.”
But of course, when Confident Chase is in charge, there’s no telling him what to do. He straightens up best he can with the wind blasting against him and squares his shoulders. “Don’t worry, Natalie. It will be fine.”
As I watch him disappear into the dark blizzard, I have a terrible feeling those will be the last words I ever hear him say.
Chase has been gone for twenty minutes.
I know it’s unreasonable to think that he’d have found help by now and brought them back to me—in fact, it’s just about impossible. But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder how Chase is doing out there. It’s got be close to zero degrees with the wind, and he isn’t dressed for cold weather. The idea of him actually finding help is beginning to feel more and more remote.
I should never have let him go. Not that I had the power to stop him.
My stomach growls. Chase had this romantic meal planned at the cabin—one I will probably never see. I’m thirsty too. I guess I could drink the snow-water, but I don’t have anything to collect it in. I don’t have a water bottle or even a cup. We came so ridiculously unprepared. The only positive thing I can say is I don’t need to use the bathroom—I’m not sure how I’ll handle that particular need when it arises.
Why didn’t I order Chase to turn back when the snow started? Why did I let him drag me out here? Confident Chase got the better of my good judgment.
I can’t feel my toes at all anymore. I try to wiggle them, but I’m not sure I’m doing it. This is not a good sign. How long does it take for a person to get frostbite? Is that what’s happening to me? I reach into my purse to get my phone to Google it, but remember as I’m pulling it out that I have no signal and no way to Google anything. As I’m straightening up, my elbow bumps against the steering wheel and the horn sounds.
Is it possible if I honk the horn enough times, someone out there could hear it and rescue us? It seems… well, considering we’re on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, it seems unlikely. But it’s not like there are any better options.
I lean the ball of my fist against the steering wheel and the horn sounds within the car. In the car, it’s loud enough, but I can’t imagine the sound won’t be lost in the howling wind outside. What’s that saying again—if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? (Also, what is the sound of one hand clapping? I always was confused by that one.)
I honk about two dozen times. After the twenty-somethingth honk, I lean back in my seat. I can’t see anything out the window because it’s now coated with snow. I hear nothing but the wind.
Well, that was pointless.
Chase left the car keys in the ignition. I had planned to conserve gas, but it’s so cold in this car, I can’t stand it anymore. Before I had my hat and my gloves, but now that I’ve handed those over to Chase on his rescue mission, the cold has become unbearable—the tips of my ears are getting numb. I’ve been keeping my gloveless hands tucked into my armpits, which helps a little, but I can’t stop shivering. I am freezing down to the core. I need some heat, if only for a few minutes.
I reach for the keys and turn on the engine.
Of course, the air that blasts from the vents is freezing cold. It will probably take a minute or two to warm up. In the meantime, I turn on the windshield wipers, hoping to let some natural light into the car. The wipers swipe at the glass, pushing away flakes of snow. I blink a few times, staring into the blackness. Except…
Is that a light in the distance?
My heart skips in my chest. I see something! It’s a light. No, two lights! Headlights! Someone is here! I’m saved!
I roll down the passenger side window so the snow will clear off, although I have to quickly roll it back up again because the cold wind is too unbearable. I peer through the smudged glass at what appears to be a green pickup truck about twenty feet in the distance. With its engine running.
I flash my lights and the truck comes to a halt. It’s very hard to see, but the door to the truck swings open. And a figure emerges.
The driver is wearing a thick parka, but even so, it’s clear he is a very imposing figure. Tall and… just… big. He lurches forward in the snow, although he moves quickly given the wind and the depth of snow he has to walk through. There’s something about the way he walks that frightens me. If someone told me Big Foot was under that parka, I would believe it.
As relieved as I was to see other signs of life in this blizzard, my heart starts to pound as the figure approaches the car.
Maybe there are worse things out here than cold and hunger. A man can kill me much faster than cold or hunger can.
A gloved hand pounds on the passenger’s side window and I nearly jump out of my skin. I blink a few times, cowering in my seat, and peer through the window. The man’s thick coat conceals his body, a hat and hood cover his hair, and the lower part of the hat covers his lips as well. All I can see staring out at me are his eyes.
Well, his eye. Because his right one is covered by a black patch.
Oh Jesus. This guy is really scary-looking. And here I am, all alone in my car in the middle of nowhere. Why did I have to honk my damn horn?
He bangs on the window again. I can barely hear him shouting: “You okay in there?”
This creature—well, it appears to be a man and not Big Foot, although the jury is still out—is here to rescue me. But I have a horrible feeling that I may subsequently need to be rescued from him.
“Hey!” he yells again. “Can you hear me?”
What do I do? I can’t stay in this car and freeze to death. Let’s face it—Chase is never going to find help. But I don’t have a good feeling about this man. He’s really frightening. The eyepatch is freaking me out big time. I heard this campfire story before and it doesn’t end well for the girl in the car.
The man straightens up, gesturing at me to open the window. I don’t know what to do. I’m safe from him in this car if he means me any harm. But I’ll die if I stay in this car. Also, he could be Chase’s only hope if he’s out there somewhere in the snow.
I slowly roll down the window a few inches, and immediately, the wind hits me in the face. The man squints at me with his good eye.
“You stuck?” he asks.
I nod. “Can you tow my car?”
That’s my brilliant idea. If he tows the car, I can stay in here and not be raped by a yeti.
The man quickly shakes his head. “No, that’s not gonna happen. But my house is just up the road and you can stay there till the storm blows over.”
I chew on my lip, unsure what to do. In spite of his hulking build and creepy eyepatch, his voice isn’t scary. He doesn’t growl or hiss. He’s sounds like a regular guy. Not a man who will chop me up into bits and feed me to his dog. Except…
“My boyfriend,” I croak. Well, he’s my ex-boyfriend now, but I don’t need to explain my love life to this stranger. “He… he went for help. We need to find him.”
The man’s single blue eye goes wide. “How long ago did he leave the car?”
“Maybe… forty minutes ago?”
“Shit…” he breathes. He straightens up and stares into the darkness behind me. “Yeah, okay. We can look for him.”
I let out a sigh of relief. We’re going to find Chase. And when we do, I’ll be safe from this creature. Chase may not be my boyfriend anymore, but he won’t let this guy hurt me. Everything is going to be fine.
I unlock the door and the man pulls it open for me. The cold feels like a knife against my bare ears. I scream out in pain and clutch at my face. God, it’s cold.
“Where’s your hat?” the man asks me. Now that I’m standing next to him, I see he isn’t quite as tall as I’d thought. Definitely several inches over six feet, but not eight or nine feet like I’d originally thought when I saw him.
“I don’t have a hat.”
He looks at me like I’ve got two heads. “You came up here in the middle of February and didn’t bring a hat?”
“I did have one, but I gave it to my boyfriend.”
“So where’s his hat?”
“He didn’t bring one.”
The guy rolls his eyes. Well, eye. He fumbles at his collar and eventually pulls out a thick, black scarf. It’s gigantic—I could easily wrap my whole body in it. “No, it’s okay…” I protest.
“Take it, Princess,” he growls at me. “Put it on. I don’t have time to argue with you.”
I inhale sharply. Princess? What’s that about? Just because I’m out in a blizzard without a hat or scarf?
But I do as he says. I wrap the scarf first around my head and ears, then circle it around my neck. It’s thick and warm and smells like pine cones.
“Pop the trunk and I’ll grab your bags,” he says. “That way we don’t have to come back after.”
I do as he says this time without question. He trudges around to the trunk while I struggle to get the door to the car closed. He stares at the contents of the trunk, his brow furrowed. “How long were you planning to stay here?”
“Just the weekend.”
“Just the weekend?”
“I know it’s a lot,” I mumble. “Look, I can take my bag and if you can grab the other…”
But the man isn’t listening to me. He throws one bag over one shoulder and one over the other, then slams the trunk closed. Chase could barely lift one of the bags, but this guy seems to be handling both without much effort. He doesn’t even grunt when he lifts them. His only struggle is walking through the heavy snow back to his trunk, where he tosses both bags in the back. I follow him, trying my best to ignore the slap of wind against the parts of my face that aren’t covered by his scarf.
The truck isn’t one of those shiny new ones I see zipping around the city. It’s old and the parts I can see under the snow are tinged in rust. The engine is running in the cab and he’s got the heat on. I hold my hands in front of the heating vent and my fingers tingle. The man pushes off his hood, but doesn’t touch the bottom half of his ski hat, so he looks like he’s about to mug a liquor store.
“No gloves either, huh?” he remarks.
“I didn’t know there was going to be a blizzard.”
He just snorts at that. “Any idea which way your boyfriend went?”
I point into the distance. “The way we came.”
He lets out a long sigh. “Okay. Let’s see if we can find him.”
It’s obvious from his voice that he thinks we won’t. He thinks Chase is lost forever—probably dead. But I can’t believe that. It hasn’t even been an hour and Chase was on foot. How far could he have possibly gone?
Even the truck is struggling to make it through the snow. It looks like there are at least two feet of it on the ground. The man is driving slowly, his left hand gripping the wheel.
“I’m Natalie,” I tell him, breaking the silence between us. I know I probably shouldn’t talk now—I sense it with every fiber of my being—but Drew always teases me that I can’t ever “shut the hell up” when there’s a silence. I always feel a desperate need to fill any break in the conversation.
“Jake,” he grunts.
“Have you lived out here long?” I ask.
“Is it just you? Or you and your wife?” I hope there’s a wife. That he’s not some creepy loner woodsman who lives out in a desolate cabin where nobody will ever find me.
“Are you from Vermont originally or…?”
Jake doesn’t even bother to answer this time. He just keeps driving slowly through the blizzard, his good eye pinned on the road. I probably should shut up and let him concentrate.
We pass dozens of trees thick with snow. I don’t see any sign of footprints or anything that would indicate Chase has been by here. Jake has his brights on, but it’s still very hard to see. We’ve been driving ten minutes—surely there would be some sign of him by now? Is it possible we’ve passed him? Could he be lying in the snow somewhere, slowly freezing to death?
“I don’t see him,” I whisper, a lump in my throat.
Jake is still quiet. He yanks down the part of his hat that’s covering his face, and now I see he has a thick, wild beard. I wonder how long he’s been living out here. I wonder how often he sees other people. Probably not much.
“We’ll keep looking,” he finally says.
“But…” Tears well up in my eyes. Chase never had a shot of making it to any sort of civilization—I sat in the car and let him march off to his doom. If we don’t find him now, he’ll die for sure, and it will be my fault. Maybe he wasn’t the best boyfriend ever, but he doesn’t deserve to die. “He could be anywhere.”
“We’ll look till we find him,” Jake says gruffly.
Except how long will that be? Jake at least has more than half a tank full of gas, but it won’t last forever. We can’t drive around all night looking. And it’s so dark, even with the beams of his headlights on the road. I can’t even…
I see red.
“Stop!” I shriek.
The trunk skids to an eventual stop in the snow. Jake leans over the dashboard, squinting in the direction of my outstretched hand. At the flash of red in the snow, from the scarf I lent to Chase before he took off. There he is—Chase, crouched down against a tree, his face buried in his knees.
“That’s him!” I yelp.
Jake nods. “Stay here.”
My fingers grip my knees as I sit in the warm comfort of the truck while Jake puts his hood on again and stumbles back out into the blizzard. His feet sink deep into the snow with each step, and it takes him more than twice as long as it should have to get to where Chase is huddled by the tree. Jake crouches down beside him and puts his hand on my boyfriend’s shoulder. I don’t know if Jake is trying to talk to him or what, but Chase doesn’t move.
After about fifteen seconds of this, Jake simply picks him up and carries him back to the car.
I watch, open-mouthed. Chase isn’t obese or anything, but he isn’t light either. Jake must be wicked strong. So much for expecting Chase to protect me from this guy.
Jake rips open the back door of the truck and shoves Chase into the back seat. Now that he’s in the car, I get a close look at my boyfriend, and he doesn’t look so great. He’s shaking violently and his skin is pale, almost waxy. His eyes are just barely open.
“Chase?” I whisper.
He mumbles something incoherent.
“Hypothermia,” Jake says as he slides back into the driver’s seat. “We need to get him someplace warm.”
Chase shudders and lets out a low groan.
“We need to take him to a hospital,” I say.
Jake shakes his head. “Nearest hospital is over ten miles away.”
He gives me a sharp look. “We’d be lucky to make it to the main road in this truck.”
“But…” My throat constricts painfully. “What if he dies?”
“Listen to me.” Jake’s good eye makes contact with mine. “We try to take him to a hospital, we all die. My house is right down the road. We’ll warm him up there.”
I want to argue with him more, but unlike Chase, I have a feeling Jake knows what he’s talking about. We’re going back to Jake’s house, whether I like it or not. We’re both at his mercy now.
To be continued...